Developer: The Tap Lab
Platforms: iOS, Android
Release date: June 2017
What is a “clicker”?
Cookie Clicker was released as a browser game in 2013. For those not familiar with the concept, the player must click on the screen to manufacture a single cookie. They can then spend cookies on automatic clickers, such as “grandmas”, which can manufacture cookies without your input, even when you are offline. The goal is to, well, have lots and lots of cookies.
The game coined the term “idle” and “incremental” gaming, spawning many popular clones, such as Clicker Heroes and Adventure Capitalist. Games in the genre are often found floating around the most popular games on mobile and Steam and can be lucrative, despite their relatively simple design.
Sega’s first WWE game
It appears Sega have caught onto this phenomenon, as in the same release window the Japanese publisher has released two “clickers” for mobile, Crazy Taxi: Gazillionaire and WWE Tap Mania.
Players can create their own Superstar, who stands at the bottom of the screen, facing their opponent in a Punch-Out style view. Tapping the screen attacks until the opponent is defeated and flies off the screen, instantly replaced by a new competitor. Every tenth opponent takes the form of a tougher “boss” character, usually in the form of a WWE Superstar.
Progressing through the game unlocks card packs, which will include a WWE Superstar, or a part of a rarer one. Up to four Superstars can join you in the ring at once, with them automatically attacking your opponent, even when you are offline.
The key to a successful quint in the ring is to choose a diverse team. Superstars come in five flavours; Powerhouse, Showboat, High Flyer, Brawler and Technician. Each has their own buff or de-buff that can be activated every few minutes, which are best saved for boss battles.
Combining familiar wrestlers comes with a bonus too. My team featured Enzo, Big Cass and Carmella – which at the time of writing seem out of place compared to TV. Not that the game seems to care; AJ Styles is aligned with John Cena and Dean Ambrose, for some reason.
Spending real money gets you packs with a high chance of getting cards that will contribute towards a Steve Austin, or The Rock, but I found no real benefit to doing so. If you can put up with your rag-tag bunch of freebie Superstars, you can level them up to match the scaling “difficulty” of the game. Other than the wrestlers, you can unlock attire for your own wrestler, that comes with perks of their own.
Once you reach L100 in the game, you can “Prestige”, which will be concept familiar to Call of Duty players. It essentially means starting the game again, but keeping your perks intact, so you progress much faster than before.
I spent some weeks with the game leading up to the worldwide launch. I have to confess, I got very addicted to the game and found myself coming back to fiddle with my team and battle a few bosses multiple times a day. I didn’t feel the need to spend money in my time with the game, so I can’t judge if there is a dreaded “pay wall” in sight. I wouldn’t have minded some incentive to spend a few pennies.
The artwork is a lot of fun, with each Superstar well realised, but it was a little disappointing when you realise they all have the same canned animations. They essentially just strike the opponent until they fly off the screen.
As far as clicker games go, WWE Tap Mania is a good one, with reasonable depth with a familiar theme for WWE fans. However, the game could have been themed with practically any franchise. There are no wrestling holds, no submissions, no pinfalls.
I was excited to hear that Sega were working with WWE on a game, so I admit I was disappointed to see that it wasn’t a wrestling game. However, for WWE fans looking for a free mobile game and time to burn, you may as well give this a shot.
Score: 3 out of 5